March 12, 2009

Michigan offer excites Maryland athlete

When an envelope from Ann Arbor arrived, Old Mill High School assistant coach Jason Dunalp knew what was inside. He raced through the school to find the letter's desired target, eager to share the scholarship offer with the Millersville, Md., standout …

"It seems like Josh Furman gets a new scholarship offer every day, but when I pulled him out of class and gave him the letter he was jumping up and down," Dunalp said. "He was super excited. He looks at Michigan, the history - he's a huge college football fan - and understands this is a big-time school with great tradition showing him interest. He has a lot of attention from ACC and Big East schools, and for the Big Ten to jump in, it's just awesome.

"When people asks him who he has offers from, Josh lists Michigan first every time."

The 6-2, 200-pounder (though Dunlap said he is down to 190 pounds) sports an incredible 4.37 40-yard dash and a 40-inch vertical. He holds offers from Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, Pittsburgh and West Virginia, with letters from Illinois, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Syracuse on the way.

Originally from Annapolis, Furman enrolled at Old Mill before his freshman year and starred immediately. In his first extended appearance, he recorded five sacks. He moved back to Annapolis for his sophomore season but was back in Millersville for 2008.

Playing running back, he rushed for 796 yards and 14 touchdowns on 105 carries (7.6 yards per carry) while he notched 25 tackles for loss among 87 total stops, including eight sacks.

"When we stuck him in at defensive end as a freshman and he had five sacks, all of us just looked at each other and said 'Wow,'" Dunlap relayed. "He was pretty raw when he came back to us [last fall] and it took him some time to acclimate but pretty early we matched up against Fort Meade and they had a quarterback, Raymond Cotton, that signed with Mississippi. He's a four-star and Josh tracked him down everywhere he went. He dominated and from then on, every week was another coming out party."

Michigan and West Virginia are recruiting Furman to play linebacker. Maryland has said he could play offense or defense while Pittsburgh likes him at tailback. Receivers coach Tony Dews is recruiting the Millersville star for the Wolverines.

"The last time Josh called Michigan, Coach Dews put him on with Rich Rodriguez and that was a thrill," Dunlap said. "At the time, we didn't know Michigan had offered but after he got his letter, he called back and had an even longer talk with the coaches there."

Furman was scheduled to visit Ann Arbor Friday for Junior Day but has the SATs on Saturday, forcing him to cancel. He will be back, though, in April (possibly April 4) after visiting Duke and North Carolina March 27-28.

While the Maize and Blue certainly stand in good favor with the potential four-star, the local schools will put up a fight. Furman's father played football for Maryland and was coached by Ralph Friedgen (offensive line coach) in the early 1980s.

"He won't make a decision until after his senior football season because he wants to let things die down and take some time to talk to his dad about it," Dunlap said. "It's a long time between then and now but certainly there are a few schools already that have caught his eye, and Michigan is one of them."



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